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3 stars "Dehumanizer" (their previous album) with Dio back on the vocals was more of a catastrophy than anything else. This album welcomes Tony Martin who already have been the lead vocalist on three "Sabbath" albums : " The Eternal Idol", "Headless Cross" (their poorest one so far IMO), and "Tyr". None of these belonging to the good "Sabbath" repertoire.

In this album, I have to say that he is not doing too bad a job. There are no real highlight on this album but "Virtual Death" seems to come out from the seventies. The heavy Iommi riff is very efficient and instantly recognizable. It reminds the track "Black Sabbath" from their debut album. Slow-paced but devastating. A good song which brings some nostalgia to the old fans like me.

The opening number ("I Witness") is a typical hard-rock song. Aggressive and catchy beat. Several songs will be of that caliber here. "Immaculate Deception" is probably my fave of this album. Melodic vocals, super fast during the instrumental parts and with the best Iommi solo on this album. Very pleasant and to be honest, this album is probably the best one of "Sabbath" since "Sabotage" (1975).

One of their best rock ballads ever written (but they haven't written that much right ?) is also featured : "Dying For Love". Some similarities with Glenn Hughes's vocal style in this one. A bit melancholic but real strong.

"The Hand That Rocks The Cradle" combines almost acoustic parts with the most heavy ones. It is the most "sophisticated" of this album. Only for this mix; so don't expect too complex stuff there either. This album does hold any weak song. It must have been ages that it didn't happened ! No brilliant track either but a solid and well balanced album. "Cardinal Sin" is another pleasant moment.

This album is, to a certain extent, a return to some of their heavy roots ("Virtual Death", "Back To Eden", "Evil Eye") and Iommi, as usual, will raise the level of some songs to the upper side. He is the cement of "Sabbath".

Three stars.

Report this review (#147234)
Posted Friday, October 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars Back to Eden? Well, not quite?

After three very musically (though not necessarily commercially) successful albums with Tony Martin on vocals (The Eternal Idol, Headless Cross and TYR), Tony Iommi decided to kick Martin as well as bassist Neal Murray and later also drummer Cozy Powell out of the band to make room for the reunion of the Mob Rules-line up with Ronnie James Dio, Geezer Butler and Vinnie Appice. This was, in my opinion, a very bad move that gave rise to the disastrous Dehumanizer album. After this one-off reunion with Ronnie Dio, however, Black Sabbath once again found themselves without a singer and Martin was asked to rejoin the band which he agreed to. Dio took drummer Vinnie Appice with him, so there was also a need for a new drummer. I don't know if Cozy Powell was asked to return or not at this point, but if he was he must have declined since Bobby Rondinelli was brought in here to fill the drum slot. Powell did however return to the band for the next album, Forbidden. Original member Geezer Butler remained from the Dio-reunion and keyboards are as usual handled by Geoff Nichols.

This resulted in Cross Purposes. While this is a good album and a major improvement over Dehumanizer, they never managed to recapture the magic of earlier Tony Martin-fronted albums. About what would have happened had the Dio-reunion never materialized and Martin had been allowed to stay in the band, we can only speculate. But maybe it was the changing musical trends of the 90's rather than the rapid changes of vocalists that shaped the sound of Cross Purposes? You might describe it as a meeting half-way between the excellent Headless Cross and the disappointing Dehumanizer both in terms of quality and in terms of style. Like on Dehumanizer, they once again try to sound contemporary and adapt somewhat to the musical climate of the early 90's but on Cross Purposes they do this without leaving behind too much of their musical history. Given that this was in fact their goal this album is a success, but I can't help feel that some of the magic of the late 80's albums was lost here. Thus I do not see Cross Purposes as a return to the form of TYR and Headless Cross.

While there are no bad songs as such here, it is not always easy to identify the stand-out tracks. Cross Of Thorns is one of the highlights for sure, however, with its acoustic passages alternating with a melodic vocal over a heavy riff. Dying For Love is something of a power ballad very similar to Feels Good To Me from the TYR album but less good in my opinion. The rest of the songs are rather typical Black Sabbath songs based on rather paradigm Iommi guitar riffs. Had this been released by another band I might have been more impressed, but I require more of Sabbath.

This album is a recommended addition to any Black Sabbath collection that already holds the much better The Eternal Idol, Headless Cross and TYR albums.

Report this review (#177956)
Posted Wednesday, July 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album from 1994 named Cross purposes is by far my fav Sabbath album with Tony Martin on vocals after the excellent Headless cross from 1989. This is more heavy metal than prog but very enjoyble if you like this side of the band. I have this album since it was release in 1994, and i was blown away (in a good sense), i even bought a t-short with this album. After Duhumanizer from 1992 and another Dio participation on band's career (third studio album with him) Cross purposses brings a fresh air In Sabbath sound. The album has some very fine and strong guitar riffs and solos specialy on opening track I witness, The hand that rocks the cradla and Cardinal Sin, the rest is above many pieces Sabbath done in the past. I like very much the atmosphere this album has as a whole, very doomy and heavy sometimes, that is a good thing no doubt (we talking about one of the best heavy metal bands ever) and sometimes very smooth and melacholic. Tony Martin's voice on this album is outstanding, very powerful, excellent vocalist he fits like a glove on this kind of music, just check out I witness, Cross of Thorns,Immaculate Deception, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle and Cardinal sin, excellent pieces, maybe the best Black Sabbath tunes since Mob rules. Also Iommi gather on this album top notch musicians, as always, the old mate on bass Butler, Nichols on keys (he is a curent member since Heaven and hell ) and on drums another outstanding musician Bobby Rondinelli, so is clear that the music is super well done. Something to mention is that the sound is crystall clear, every instrument sounds absolute amazing. Definetly one of my fav Black Sabbath albums ever, along with Headless cross, Heaven and hell, and couple of early albums with Ozzy. 4 stars for sure, very strong album, recommended if you are also on heavy metal side.
Report this review (#184245)
Posted Wednesday, October 1, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Cross Purposes is the seventeenth full-length studio album by UK heavy metal act Black Sabbath. After Dio´s second departure from Black Sabbath just before finishing the tour supporting their sixteenth full-length studio album Dehumanizer (1992), the band reunited with Tony Martin who had been the lead singer in Black Sabbath on the albums The Eternal Idol (1987), Headless Cross (1989) and Tyr (1990). A great singer who had brought much to those albums.

The music on Cross Purposes is a bit heavier and not as epic as the music generally was on the three albums mentioned above. There are also some contemporary influences in the music and I´m thinking about Alice in Chains and Soundgarden more than one time during the playing time. A band like Extreme also came to mind because of the hard rock/ funky elements in the music. These are only influences though and above all the music on Cross Purposes is still unmistakably Black Sabbath. Heavy guitar riff based songs with strong vocals by Tony Martin. The production and the musicianship are professional and strong as ever.

Cross Purposes surprised me a bit if I have to be honest. The contemporary influences were not something I had expected but they don´t sound forced or out of place and I´m actually glad that Black Sabbath didn´t make Dehumanizer part 2 with Tony Martin on vocals. That said I still think Dehumanizer is a stronger album than Cross Purposes. Nothing beats Dio´s intense and passionate vocal delivery IMO. Cross Purposes is a good album though and it deserves a 3 star rating.

Report this review (#224205)
Posted Thursday, July 2, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Perhaps the most solid Sabbath effort featuring vocalist Tony Martin, and perhaps their best album of the decade. Cross Purposes offers a wide range of compositions, from the speedy intro 'I Witness' to the doom that is 'Virtual Death' through to the ballads such as 'Dying for Love'. The return of Geezer Butler is welcomed yet the departure of Dio is probably the main reason why this album goes relatively unnoticed. The songs are masterful and this has to be seen as one of the band's finest albums. It's great to listen to, every track is a delight, it contains catchy choruses, more classic Iommi riffs and is overall an explosive effort. It's not as heavy as Dehumanizer and there's non of the intense reverb and synth layering that featured on the late 80s releases and 90s TYR. It's once again another underrated gem from the Tony Marin era of Black Sabbath; here he is singing at his best and this can be seen as one of the greatest Sabbath albums.

Top Three Tracks:

1) I Witness 2) Virtual Death 3) Evil Eye

Report this review (#247172)
Posted Thursday, October 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars On this Cross album (even after 15 years I still can't tell the titles apart when referring to the Sabbath-with-Martin albums), the sound has been stripped of most of its overblown 80's resonating production values. Unfortunately Sabbath was again stripped of Dio as well, after that much maligned but still excellent Dehumanizer comeback album with him.

But I always liked the Tony Martin period. That is to say I like many songs from it. If you read my review of the other Cross album, I'm sure you figured out that subtle distinction yourself.

Cross#2 is another offering that has plenty of classic moments but is too uneven and inconsistent again to be called excellent. Let me just list the songs that really work for me and that I'm sure they will not deviate much from what everybody else has: I Witness, Cross of Thorns, Virtual Death, Dying for Your Love and the beautiful verses of Immaculate Deception (not so much the awkward tempo change).

That's about half of the album so 3 stars will have to do. Not essential or excellent, even though I believe every serious Sabbath fan should have at least one Martin album in his Sabbath section. This Cross is a decent candidate for that.

Report this review (#248353)
Posted Friday, November 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars After short Dio return to Black Sabbath team, he left again. So previous vocalist Tony Martin was recruited. But this album isn't just a "Headless Cross "Vol.2.

If Headless Cross was heavy metal wave ,very energetic and enough fast, where everyone could hear many Dio-like moments (not only in vocal), "Cross Purposes" is more attack on Ozzy's legacy.

Ex-Rainbow drummer Cozy Powell is replaced by another ex-Rainbow drummer Bob Rondinelli. Music became much slower, now it is more acoustic extra heavy doom with BS from 70-s shadows. Tony Martin even being much more Dio- like vocalist, tried to sing songs more in Ozzy key.

The result is mixed - some songs are very near to Ozzy era, but many of them are somewhere in between. No one style or structure, album sounds more as collection of songs from different years. More melodic moments, more acoustic solos, more difference. But too raw album to be really good. And not enough innovative.

I think this work should be placed somewhere between better albums from after-Dio period, but no way at the level of Black Sabbath best works.

Report this review (#255463)
Posted Thursday, December 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Dang it all - new line up again - at least Tony Martin's back. I love the track "Cross of Thorns" and I immediately forgive Tony for the confusion of what may come next on future albums - I'm thinking maybe Robert Plant hahaha. Is it me or is Martin just really going through the motions here on the album? Love the track "Dying for love" as well. "The hand that rocks the cradle" - another track that appeals to me. Aside from the tracks mentioned above as well as "Cardinal Sin" nothing else really catches my attention or appeals to me over much. There is a lot more "melody" on this album than there is on the previous release and I enjoy that side of the album. Please Tony, keep the line up this time for the next release! This is the best of the Martin fronted Sabbath albums imo. Three and a half stars boosted to four for the melodic, emotive side of the album.
Report this review (#940048)
Posted Saturday, April 6, 2013 | Review Permalink

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